Christmas Is Coming!

Welcome dear readers! Our family from Vermont is on their way to spend the weekend. The beds are all ready; I made the salad, the extra chairs are at the table and the new placemats look great. Presents are wrapped and under the tree, Christmas cards are all mailed out and extras packed away; but not too far! [in case I think of more to send] What else needs to be cleaned, prepped, put away, gotten out… before they come? Such is the busyness of preparing for hospitality.

Looks like the actual Christmas celebration will be quiet for John and me. We’ll Skype with the family, maybe watch a movie together, share a special meal. We’re looking forward to a trip to Vermont for our New Year’s celebration with our son’s family, and a possible trip to Los Angeles to see our daughter’s family in February. We haven’t been to California in at least three years!

I realize we are in various stages of life and have different holiday traditions. My husband and I are at the grandparent stage, with children scattered, which means visits from them and visits to them and much Skyping. You may have a house full of children, be in a home bursting at the seams with visiting relatives, or be a recent widow/widower, adjusting to life on your own. It may be empty nester syndrome, or newlyweds kindling new traditions from diverse backgrounds. Maybe you are expecting more than one of these situations, or I have not come close to your unique situation.

No matter where you find yourself this Christmas, I hope you remember the meaning of this season of celebration. This Christmas will probably differ from last because of the circumstances in the world, but in honor of our Savior, find things to rejoice in no matter what.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Christmas reminds us that at just the right time in history, God sent His son, Jesus. The light of God came down into darkness to open our eyes to the salvation and reconciliation we all long for. Fully God and fully human, choosing to come humbly as a baby from a human womb, He grew to become the perfect Lamb, slain from the foundations of the world. Only a loving, gracious Father God would think to prepare redemption for humankind before He created anything here on earth. As I shared in my Hanukkah celebration, I’ve had a new revelation of the Light that stepped down into darkness. Now we are at just the right time for our life on this earth, just as Jesus was here at just the right time. I believe the prophecies that the new year, even beginning now, is a time for things long-hoped for coming to pass. Dust off those old prayers, prophecies, dreams and God-given desires. Stand in faith and see the fulfillment of all these things appear!

Philippians 1:2 “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy… being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…”

My dear readers, join me in rejoicing as we travel through this Christmas season. Shalom!

Rape and Holding On

Good day to you my readers. Today I start with a shocking item of news my husband John shared with me. His demeanor was disbelief and disgust as he said, “A woman was being raped in the subway. Instead of rescuing her, people were videoing taping it!”

What does the Bible say about rape? The first rape mentioned was in Genesis 34. The local prince seized Dinah and raped her. When her brothers heard about it, they were shocked and furious. Of course, the brothers followed their fleshly nature and took revenge… not good in God’s sight?

We find the Jewish laws about rape in Deuteronomy 22. If a man meets an engaged woman out in the country and rapes her, then the man shall be put to death, but the woman has committed no crime because we assume she screamed, but no one was there to rescue her.

Deuteronomy 21-22 has a story most people do not remember from Sunday school or their own Bible reading; I’ve never heard it used in a sermon. A Levite man took for himself a concubine and she “played the harlot”, returning to her father’s house. The Levite went to retrieve her, and the father-in-law was thwarting his attempts to leave with her. When they finally escaped, they ended up in the square in Gibeah, amid depraved Benjaminites. A man insisted they couldn’t stay outside for the night and invited them to his home. Here’s what happened:

Gibeah’s Crime

Judges 19:22 As they were enjoying themselves, suddenly certain men of the city, perverted men, surrounded the house and beat on the door. They spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally![the men of the town were deep into sodomy]

23 But the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brethren! I beg you, do not act so wickedly! Seeing this man has come into my house, do not commit this outrage. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter and the man’s concubine; let me bring them out now. Humble them, and do with them as you please; but to this man do not do such a vile thing!” 25 But the men would not heed him. So the man took his concubine and brought her out to them. And they knew [raped] her and abused her all night until morning; and when the day began to break, they let her go.

26 Then the woman came as the day was dawning, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her master was, till it was light.

27 When her master arose in the morning, and opened the doors of the house and went out to go his way, there was his concubine, fallen at the door of the house with her hands on the threshold. 28 And he said to her, “Get up and let us be going.” But there was no answer. So the man lifted her onto the donkey; and the man got up and went to his place.

If you read on, this turned into a more gruesome scene as he cut the dead woman up and sent her pieces to the other tribes. This began the war between Judah and Gibeah, which wiped out the major part of the tribe of Benjamin. As with all biblical stories, this one shows God’s justice mixed with the human sense of justice. Someone said if the devil can’t get to you any other way, he will work to get into your body by having someone rape you. It’s said to be an attempt to show dominance or contempt. Most men/women who commit such sin are trying to gain control over their victim; from demonic influence or human depravity.

The enemy’s tactics have not changed since the book of Genesis; the way he works to use God’s children continues if we do not turn to Jesus to cleanse our hearts and minds. Corrie Ten Boom shares the horror of her mother being raped repeatedly by the soldiers until she died as they were being loaded on the train cars to go to the concentration camp.

Remember, I told you last week Pastor Sam is beginning a study of Romans this Sunday? This morning I listened to Alexander Scoresby reading this book on YouTube to prepare. Working on this post, verses stuck out to go with this story I’m relating. Chapter 1 speaks about what God thinks about sinful man. They have no excuse because God has made it clear what is right and they choose to make idols of created things instead of worshipping their creator. Verses 26-32 describe what happens to people who do this [might explain what’s happening right now!]

Romans 1:26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

Yes, I realize I can get called all kinds of names for pointing out what God says in the Bible about aberrant sexuality. May this post jog many out of spiritual slumber and give you insight into the enemy’s tactics which are blatantly in our faces these days. There is hope! I was just watching Derek Prince teaching about blessings and curses as I sliced and packed away the last of our peppers. I share it with you, hoping you may find help in this time of need.

Derek Prince; How to Pass From Curse to Blessing.

He who began a good work in you shall be faithful to complete it! I leave you with this bright vestige of this long, mild, fall weather which my loving husband brought in for me to enjoy. I pray you live in God’s Shalom until we meet again.